Kate A.D. Ryan

Kate A.D. Ryan Special Counsel

  • Education
  • J.D., University of California’s Berkeley School of Law, 2006
  • M.A., University of Colorado (Geography), 2001
  • B.S., College of William & Mary, Magna Cum Laude, 1997
  • Admissions
  • Colorado, 2006
  • Experience
  • Teaching/Speaking

Kate Ryan has practiced water rights and natural resources law since she obtained her JD from University of California’s Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) in 2006.  Kate was editor-in-chief of the Ecology Law Quarterly at Berkeley Law, and she received the school’s Barry S. Sandals fellowship for environmental work.  Kate also has a background in science, having received her B.S. magna cum laude from the College of William & Mary in 1997, where she studied environmental science and completed an honors thesis in hydrology.  She also completed an M.A. in Geography at the University of Colorado, specializing in Arctic Climatology, and worked for two years as an associate scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

In her practice, Kate represents both public and private clients in all aspects of water court litigation and related administrative proceedings, including adjudication of water rights, changes of water rights, and complex plans for augmentation. She also has experience assisting clients with water rights acquisitions, sales, and leases.  Kate has taken the lead in representing clients in multiple water court trials, and she has been successful at oral argument before the Colorado Supreme Court.

Following law school, Kate clerked for the Honorable Gregory J. Hobbs of the Colorado Supreme Court.  Kate then worked for a boutique water law firm, where she represented municipal and private clients with water rights, land use and real estate matters.  Most recently, Kate spent three years as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Colorado.  She was attorney for the State and Division Engineers as well as the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  Kate was also a member of the City of Boulder’s Water Resources Advisory Board from 2010-2012.

Kate is a member of the City of Boulder’s Water Resources Advisory Board as well as the Foothill Elementary School Accountability Committee.


  • Changes of Water Rights Quantifying Consumptive Use, Boulder County Bar Association CLE (2016)
  • Colorado Legislative and Litigation Update, CLE International’s Law of the Rio Grande Conference (2016)
  • Water Rights in the West, Lecture for the Water in the Western United States “Coursera”, Western Water Assessment (2015).
  • Practicing Colorado Water Law, University of Colorado Water Law, Guest Lecture (2014).
  • Easements and Access to Water, Presentation at the Colorado Water Officials Association Annual Conference (2014).
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